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Over 500 people signed up for an Appropriations Committee public hearing addressing Gov. Ned Lamont’s budget for elementary and secondary education agencies Thursday afternoon.
The hearing, which lasted over seven hours, had over 200 Danbury parents registered to speak. Many parents, with the organization Latinos for Educational Advocacy and Diversity, advocated for lawmakers to approve funding for a charter school.
“Opening a charter school in Danbury would give a new opportunity to our kids,” Martha Arevalo testified in Spanish. “In the current public schools, they have a mountain of students … [and] many students feel excluded. It’s not the teachers’ fault. They do everything they can to give them a good education, but there’s too many students and too many demands each student has.”
Charter schools undergo a two-tier approval process. They need to be approved by the state’s Board of Education first, then the state legislature. The Danbury charter school was approved by the Board of Education in 2018, but has been on hold for several years, awaiting funding approval by lawmakers and the governor.
Other speakers also touched on topics regarding early childhood education and free school meals, and urged legislators to increase school funding statewide.